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U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin defeats Leah Vukmir in historic race

Not even five minutes after the polls officially closed, ABC News reported that Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin had a comfortable victory over Republican Leah Vukmir in the November midterm election.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called the race historic: “It was the first time two women in Wisconsin emerged as major party candidates for U.S. Senate.”

Despite GOP efforts to oust Baldwin by pouring money into Vukmir’s campaign, Madison native Baldwin retains her seat.

Brookfield resident and pediatric nurse practitioner Vukmir, 60, served as a representative of the 14th Wisconsin Assembly District from 2002-2010 and was elected as Senator of the 5th Wisconsin Senate District in 2010.

She is the Senate Assistant Majority Leaders, and serves on the Education, Finance, Health and Human Services (chair), and Senate Organization committees, as well as the Joint Committee on Finance and the Joint Committee on Legislative Organization.

On Sept. 7, 2017, Vukmir announced she would seek the 2018 Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. She won the primary election in August 2018 after defeating veteran Kevin Nicholson.

Baldwin, 56, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012 when she defeated former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson. She made history as the first woman and openly gay member elected to the Senate. Before that, she served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 14 years.

She currently serves on the Committee of Appropriations, the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.  

While Baldwin’s campaign has focused on health care, Vukmir’s platform has included strong admissions of support for President Donald Trump, building a wall on the United States’ border with Mexico and his “America First” approach.

“President Trump’s America First approach is working as he stands up to foreign leaders to make America prosperous and safer,” Vukmir said in a RiverTown Multimedia election questionnaire. “The President believes in free trade, but that also means fair trade, and he has been successful at working out better trade deals for American manufacturers and businesses and we are starting to see the benefits.”

In the same questionnaire, Baldwin touted her bipartisan legislation to start cracking down on Fentanyl in America,her support in addressing the rising meth addiction in western Wisconsin, as well as opioid addiction.

“I’m proud to have led multiple successful bipartisan efforts to push Washington to finally step-up and support Wisconsin’s fight against the opioid epidemic,” Baldwin said. “Just this year, I’ve secured over $20 million for local prevention, treatment and recovery efforts. But this is just a start. The opioid crisis is still claiming lives and there is more we can do.”

According to the latest Marquette University Law School Poll, Vukmir was trailing Baldwin by 11 points going into Tuesday’s election.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, as of Oct. 17, 2018 Baldwin had raised $30,330,29 in campaign contributions, of which she has spent $28,019,887.  Vukmir, as of Oct. 17, 2018, reported raising a total of $5,266,713 and spending $4,166,622.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in February 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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